How Much Do Community College Professors Make?

Updated March 10, 2023

Community college professor positions can offer many different personal and professional benefits, including opportunities to earn one of the higher salaries available to educators. The income of a community college professor depends on several different factors including their level of experience, area of expertise and geographical location. Many community college professors enter the profession based on their passion for teaching a subject and to seek a salary that can support their academic interests.

In this article, we review the qualifications and responsibilities involved in being a community college professor, job outlook and benefits of the role, and how much they can earn in different states.

Related: 5 Types of Academic Degrees: Which Is Right for You?

What do community college professors do?

Community college professors make up the faculty or academic staff of a two-year junior college or vocational school. They teach classes that students can apply toward earning their associate degree or other similar certifications. These instructors spend most of their time in the classroom, writing assignments, creating lesson plans or tutoring students, though some faculty also research their field. Professors at community colleges also help students prepare to transfer to a four-year university or transition directly into the workforce.

How much do community college professors make?

College faculty, including community college professors, make an average of $54,542 per year when working full-time. Many community colleges do not use academic rankings, referring to professors as instructors regardless of their tenure status, while others use titles to indicate their expertise.

Adjunct professors, who are college instructors that work part-time and are not eligible for tenure, make an average of $44.43 per hour. Assistant professors, who are usually beginning a tenure-track career, make an average of $59,539 per year while more experienced associate professors, who are usually tenured or tenure-track, earn a national average of $82,205 per year.

Community college professors can increase their potential salary by earning advanced degrees and gaining experience in subjects that are in high demand. This can include subjects that most students are required to take such as English and math, as well as specializations such as engineering and social sciences. Some community college professors work part-time at multiple institutions or alongside another job in their field, which can influence their earnings as well.

Related: The 15 Highest-Paying Jobs in Education

Average salary by state for community college professors

There are community colleges located in most counties in the United States. The cost of living, class sizes and availability of qualified candidates can all influence the state's average salary. Here is a list of the average salary for assistant professors in each state according to Indeed Salaries, which should give you a good idea of the salary for a full-time community college professor:

  • Alabama: $73,307 per year

  • Alaska: $77,406 per year

  • Arizona: $53,129 per year

  • Arkansas: $64,333 per year

  • California: $65,748 per year

  • Colorado: $71,467 per year

  • Connecticut: $69,659 per year

  • Delaware: $90,000 per year

  • Florida: $59,495 per year

  • Georgia: $50,606 per year

  • Hawaii: $80,102 per year

  • Idaho: $52,341 per year

  • Illinois: $81,840 per year

  • Indiana: $56,877 per year

  • Iowa: $64,902 per year

  • Kansas: $85,526 per year

  • Kentucky: $55,528 per year

  • Louisiana: $49,173 per year

  • Maine: $62,648 per year

  • Maryland: $54,831 per year

  • Massachusetts: $55,339 per year

  • Michigan: $61,158 per year

  • Minnesota: $117,687 per year

  • Mississippi: $58,623 per year

  • Missouri: $59,156 per year

  • Montana: $60,876 per year

  • Nebraska: $52,854 per year

  • Nevada: $61,544 per year

  • New Hampshire: $54,752 per year

  • New Jersey: $37,759 per year

  • New Mexico: $67,655 per year

  • New York: $65,870 per year

  • North Carolina: $56,544 per year

  • North Dakota: $58,729 per year

  • Ohio: $57,642 per year

  • Oklahoma: $47,999 per year

  • Oregon: $60,871 per year

  • Pennsylvania: $64,795 per year

  • Rhode Island: $57,528 per year

  • South Carolina: $59,428 per year

  • South Dakota: $331,366 per year

  • Tennessee: $48,931 per year

  • Texas: $85,254 per year

  • Utah: $60,654 per year

  • Vermont: $64,360 per year

  • Virginia: $58,763 per year

  • Washington: $68,300 per year

  • West Virginia: $90,904 per year

  • Wisconsin: $56,405 per year

  • Wyoming: $74,201 per year

Job outlook for community college professors

As more students seek out higher education and specialized training at community colleges, the demand for professors should increase. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics projections, the employment rate of postsecondary teachers, including community college professors, will grow 11% from 2018 to 2028 compared to a mere half percent projected growth for all occupations.

Some subjects may have more job opportunities than others, so anyone interested in pursuing a professor position at a community college should research the specific job opportunities available in their field. Community college professors can grow throughout their careers by seeking a tenure-track position.

Benefits of being a community college professor

Being a community college professor can be a rewarding career for those interested in working in higher education within a small community. The benefits of being a professor at a community college include:

  • Access to academic resources

  • Dynamic work environment

  • Community impact

  • Independence

Access to academic resources

College faculty have access to a wide variety of academic resources, such as the campus library, journal subscriptions, conferences, academic panels and other events. Many community college professors can enrich their own education by using campus resources.

Dynamic work environment

Community college professors often work with a wide variety of students, ranging from recent high school graduates to people who are earning a degree later in life. They also have the opportunity to teach different types of courses to suit student and professor interests. Professors have a high level of control over the way they teach their lessons and can create a dynamic work environment that increases their job satisfaction.

Community impact

Professors at community colleges have the chance to make a direct impact on a student's academic and career success. They often teach valuable life skills to young people in their community and help others develop the knowledge and abilities to change careers. Community college professors form connections with their students and inspire others to make the most of their education.


Compared to professors at four-year universities, community college professors can earn tenure much sooner without being required to meet strict guidelines for submitting research. Community college professors have a high level of independence in how they plan their lessons and the types of elective courses they teach.

Requirements for community college professors

Professors need to complete the necessary education, gain practical experience and develop their interpersonal skills. Community college professors also need to have the right temperament to succeed in the unique culture of their school. The key requirements for becoming a community college professor include:

  • Advanced degree

  • Teaching experience

  • Patience

  • Research skills

Advanced degree

Most community colleges require professors to have a master's degree in their subject. Some professors may have other types of graduate degrees depending on their field. People interested in becoming a professor at a community college should earn a bachelor's degree in the area that they would like to teach and then select a master's program that suits their professional goals.

Teaching experience

Community college professors are also expected to have teaching experience. This is usually classroom experience gained by being a teaching assistant during graduate school or other jobs and internships. They can also adapt skills gained from tutoring and other education jobs to a higher-education environment.

Related: Learn About Being a Teaching Assistant


Because community college professors spend most of their time teaching classes or mentoring students, they should have excellent interpersonal skills. People enter community college at varying levels of college readiness, so community college teachers must be patient to teach all students effectively. They need to take the time to understand each student's learning style and make adjustments when necessary.

Research skills

Community college professors do not have to produce as much academic research as professors at four-year universities, but they still need to have excellent research skills. Research skills allow professors to create accurate and useful lesson plans and provide guidance to students during their own research projects. Faculty should be able to find resources on behalf of students and stay informed about any developments in their field.

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